Saturday, April 10, 2010

British Christians issue Westminster 2010

Coming alongside the Manhattan Declaration on this side of the Atlantic, a sizable group of influential British Christian leaders have issued Westminster 2010: A Declaration of Christian Conscience. Notable among the signatories are Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury; Cardinal O'Brien of the Catholic Church in Scotland; Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester; and Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream. Conspicuous by his absence is Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, which should surprise no one.
Protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience are foundational for creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society. Our Christian faith compels us to speak and act in defence of all these.

Our beliefs and values
As Christians we reaffirm historic belief in God the Father (who created us and gave us the blueprint for our lives together); in God the Son Jesus Christ our Saviour (accepting his incarnation, teaching, claims, miracles, death, resurrection and return in judgment); and in God the Holy Spirit (who lives within us, guides us and gives us strength). We commit ourselves to worship, honour and obey God.

As UK citizens we affirm our Christian commitment both to exercise social responsibility in working for the common good and also to be subject to all governing authorities and obey them except when they require us to act unjustly.

Human life
We believe that being made in the image of God, all human life has intrinsic and equal dignity and worth and that it is the duty of the state to protect the vulnerable. We will support, protect, and be advocates for such people – including children born and unborn, and all those who are sick, disabled, addicted, elderly, in single parent families, poor, exploited, trafficked, appropriately seeking asylum, threatened by environmental change, or exploited by unjust trade, aid or debt policies. We pledge to work to protect the life of every human being from conception to its natural end and we refuse to comply with any directive that compels us to participate in or facilitate abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that involves intentionally taking innocent human life. We will support those who take the same stand.

Marriage
We pledge to support marriage – the lifelong covenantal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. We believe it is divinely ordained, the only context for sexual intercourse, and the most important unit for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. We call on government to honour, promote and protect marriage and we refuse to submit to any edict forcing us to equate any other form of sexual partnership with marriage. We commit ourselves to continue affirming what we believe as Christians about sexual morality, marriage, and the family.

Conscience
We count it a special privilege to live in a democratic society where all citizens have the right to participate in the political process. We pledge to do what we can to ensure our laws are just and fair, particularly in protecting vulnerable people. We will seek to ensure that religious liberty and freedom of conscience are unequivocally protected against interference by the state and other threats, not only to individuals but also to institutions including families, charities, schools and religious communities. We will not be intimidated by any cultural or political power into silence or acquiescence and we will reject measures that seek to over-rule our Christian consciences or to restrict our freedoms to express Christian beliefs, or to worship and obey God.

Commitment
We call upon all those in UK positions of leadership, responsibility and influence to pledge to respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold these beliefs and to act according to Christian conscience.

Key Signatories
Lord Carey - Former Archbishop of Canterbury
Cardinal O'Brien - Catholic Church in Scotland
Michael Nazir-Ali - Former Bishop of Rochester
Steve Clifford - General Director, Evangelical Alliance
Lyndon Bowring - Executive Chairman, CARE
Paul Ashton - CEO, Prospects for People with Learning Disabilities
Steve Brady - Principal, Moorlands College
Julie Anderson - Founder, Prayer for the Nation
Anita Cleverly - UK/European Director of ASK Prayer Network
Gerald Coates - Founder of Pioneer, Speaker, Author, Broadcaster
Chris Cole - Founder of Cross Rhythms
Baroness Cox - House of Lords
Philip Giddings - Chairman, Mission and Public Affairs Council, Church of England
John Glass - General Superintendent, Elim Churches
Martin Goldsmith - Associate Lecturer, All Nations Christian College, Author, International Conference Speaker
Lynn Green - International Chairman, Youth With A Mission
Archbishop Hackman - Transatlantic and Pacific Association of Churches (TAPAC)
Clifford and Monica Hill - Projects Director and Executive Director, Contemporary Christianity
Tony Horswood - Director, Connections
Kate and Paul Jinadu - Overseers, New Covenant Church Network
Matilda McAtthram - Black Mental Health UK
Peter Maiden - International Director, Operation Mobilisation
Judy Littler Manners - Fountain House Ministries
Yaqub Masih - Chairman, Pakistan Christian Concern
David Montgomery - District Superintendent of England and Wales, Church of the Nazarene
Jonathan Oloyede - Convener, Global Day of Prayer London
Hugh Palmer - Rector, All Souls Church
Peter Saunders - CEO, Christian Medical Fellowship
David Shosanya - London Baptist Association
Olave Snelling - CEO, Christian Broadcasting Council
Simon Steer - Principal, London School of Theology
Chris Sugden - Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Mike Wall - Executive Director, All Nations Christian College
Andrea Williams - Director, CCFON
Dennis Wrigley - Leader, Maranatha Community
David Stroud - Leader, Newfrontiers family of Churches in the UK
Chris Wright - International Director, Langham Partnership International